MEDIA RELEASE: HILDA highlights urgent need for more social and affordable housing to beat housing stress

The 2018 HILDA report highlights the urgent need for more social and affordable housing in NSW the state’s peak community housing body said today.

Acting CHIA NSW CEO Deborah Georgiou said the report showed housing stress is at an all time high in Sydney, with skyrocketing housing prices and rents hitting low income earners, single parents and older renters the hardest.

People are usually considered in housing stress if housing costs make up 30% of a household’s income and that places the household in the lowest 40% of income distribution.

“HILDA shows that single parents and older people are doing it particularly tough,” Ms Georgiou said.

“There are very, very few affordable rental options in Sydney for people surviving on a minimum wage or government support.

“Yes real estate prices in Sydney have dropped slightly, but whether a house is 12 or 11 times the average income is immaterial when you’re a renter struggling just to keep a roof over your head and your income hasn’t gone up.

“It’s putting pressure on people, and it’s putting pressure on our social housing safety net, which just doesn’t have enough homes to support people who need urgent relief.”

Modelling for CHIA NSW shows that NSW needs 12,000 new social and affordable homes a year to keep place with current demand and expected population growth.

CHIA NSW is calling for planning reforms in NSW to encourage more investment in not-for-profit social and affordable housing in local communities across NSW.

“Between 2012 and 2020, 18 of our largest community housing providers will have delivered $1 billion in new projects in 34 local government areas, with capacity to deliver much more,” Ms Georgiou said.

“The NSW Government has some programs in place to deliver more social and affordable homes on the ground but we need a real commitment at all levels of government to secure planning reforms and more funding.”

Download PDF: HILDA highlights urgent need for more social and affordable housing to beat housing stress

Housing Matters – July 2018


CEO Conference Overview

A month on from the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference – Everybody’s Home – we extend our sincere thanks to the sponsors, speakers, facilitators and delegates who made it such a success and a conference worth tweeting about.  In 2016 we said we were ready to meet the challenge of delivering the additional social and affordable homes needed to tackle homelessness and housing stress. Since then it has been a case of holding steady as – despite progress on social housing management transfers, announcements on the Social and Affordable Housing Fund and Communities Plus and most recently the NHFIC’s establishment – we are all still waiting for Governments to launch some big time programs to fund serious numbers of new homes.

However, when I say holding steady there was little evidence that the nearly 600 delegates and well over 100 speakers were any less enthused and full of ideas than two years ago.  Over the two days we heard from expert speakers from across the globe talk about clear directions ahead for the housing industry and calls to action. There were too many good things to mention them all but I will highlight a few, either because they are going to stick in my memory or because I learnt something new.

So here is my list – in no particular order.  It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that any conference needs politicians to demo its relevance and we were lucky to have two – the Hon Pru Goward, MP  (Minister for Family and Community Services, Minister for Social Housing, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) and  Michael Daley, MP (Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure) explaining what the Government is doing and what the Opposition would suggest as alternatives.

Barb Shaw the inaugural Co-Chair of Aboriginal Housing NT explained in clear, compelling language why investment in remote Indigenous housing so badly needs restoring. Richard Eccleston from the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania did the seemingly impossible – made tax policy (relatively) easy to grasp and reform politically possible. And while David Orr was personally inspiring he was trumped by that video – the best promotional pitch for the NFP housing sector ever – and John Murray from the Community Housing Tenants Network and Link Housing gave him a run for his money in the panel discussion.

Rosanna McGregor from the Cariboo Friendship Society and Aboriginal Housing Management Association in Canada urged policy-makers to include Indigenous leaders in solving Indigenous challenges and spoke movingly about managed alcohol programs in her hometown, William’s Lake BC. Emily Cadik from the US Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition told us we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just leverage off the initiative that’s delivered three million homes for seven million people in the States and Stephen Anthony at Industry Super explained how we might…

Then there was Brendan Coates from the Grattan Institute who did his renaissance man act by popping up to talk about the economy, housing supply, inclusionary zoning and tax reform, and Marcus Spiller from SGS who suggested that the 500K new homes the Everybody’s Home argues  for may be a shade too few. Saul Eslake reminded us that supply might be the answer – if the State got back into the business of investing as it did in the 1950s.

It was also lovely to catch up again with David Condliffe, Executive Director at the Center for Community Alternatives that promotes reducing reliance on incarceration and supports individuals who have been, to reintegrate into their communities.  I met David last year and was very impressed with his work and its relevance to a project we were kicking off to look at housing pathways for people leaving prison.

We were sent on our way by a nearly all women panel of Rebecca Huntley, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore,  Susan Ryan AO, Tania Mihailuk MP, Jenny Leong MP and our anything but ‘token male’ Paul Green MLC who all seemed to be in furious agreement that “everybody deserves to have safe secure shelter, and that’s what housing is”. It’s a right, not a privilege. Let’s hope the start button is pressed soon.

CHIA NSW and Homelessness NSW also want to thank all the sponsors for AHC 2018. It would not have happened without them:

Link to David Orr’s video:

CHIA NSW Exchange

The next CHIA NSW Exchange will take place on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th of September at the Mercure Sydney.  Already confirmed across two days are meetings for CEOs, Finance Officers, Middle Managers, Community Development, Asset Network, NDIS Network, Planning & Development, and Performance/Outcomes.  More details and ticket information will be posted as it becomes available.

National Homelessness Conference 2018

Last chance to register!

The National Homelessness Conference 2018 will be held next month in Melbourne on August 6-7 and tickets are selling fast!

Key highlights of the program include:

  • Five keynote speakers – Professor Marah Curtis (US), Professor Nicholas Pleace (UK), Juha Kaakinen (Finland), Martin Foley (Vic Minister for Housing and Homelessness) and Sally Capp (Lord Mayor of Melbourne)
  • Three major plenary panel sessions examining national priority responses to homelessness; responding to the criminalisation of inner-city homelessness, and media reporting on homelessness
  • 12 concurrent sessions examining best practice responses from across Australia.

View the full program and register now at

NSW Boarding Houses – A welcome ‘no change’ to homes delivered by not for profit community housing providers

On 29 March 2018 the Hon Anthony Roberts MP the Planning  and Housing Minister announced  that in response to community concerns new boarding houses would be required to provide 0.5 car parking spaces per room instead of the current 0.2,  where the buildings are located near to public transport. While CHIA NSW appreciated that residents might be concerned about any negative effects from new development in their localities, we also knew that many other residents in the same areas were in need of just the sort of homes these new boarding houses could provide. Moreover, the evidence from our members – not for profit community housing providers (CHPs) – was that boarding housing residents rarely owned cars. In some cases car spaces provided were even lying empty. When every space provided costs dollars that could go towards more affordable housing, we need to be sure resources aren’t being wasted.

CHPs who had built these homes also provided evidence that the increase in car parking spaces envisaged would have threatened the viability of many genuinely affordable schemes.

Happily this was no tokenistic consultation process. The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) listened and heard. They also watched. CHIA NSW and its members want to work with local communities to build homes that fit in and meet needs. Spare the time and watch these short videos that tell the story of two boarding houses in Summer Hill (managed by Hume Housing) and Wollstonecraft (managed by Link Housing).

And last week DPE announced that while car parking standards for boarding houses delivered under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 (ARHSEPP) has been amended to 0.5 car parking spaces per boarding house room, an exception has been made where a not for profit ‘Social Housing Provider’ provides the accommodation. For the latter, existing standards remain in place. This exception is based “on feedback that Social Housing Providers play a unique role in providing boarding houses for lower income earners and other groups”.

The amended ARHSEPP is here.

Landcom Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme

Landcom’s Affordable Housing Prequalification Scheme is an online tool that connects developers with nationally registered Community Housing Providers.

You can find the tool and more information at – see tab ‘Information for buyers’, then click on ‘How to buy from this scheme’.

Information about the scheme will be included in member newsletters for:

    • Property Council
    • Urban Taskforce
    • UDIA
    • Western Sydney Business Connection
    • Sydney Business Chamber


New World Wide Study shows what Australia can learn from the rest of the world about fixing the housing crisis with co-operative housing

Common Equity (NSW) is pleased to announce a new world-wide study to identify the extent and value of housing co-operatives around the world.

The research, commissioned by Australia’s Peak Co-op Housing Bodies; ‘ Articulating Value in Co-operative Housing’ was undertaken by researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Newcastle. It analysed existing research in a dozen countries. The findings point to the significant benefits of Co-operative Housing Models.

  • Cost Savings: up to 14% lower capital and operating costs under the co-operative model
  • Social Capital: Stronger social networks and sense of community – higher than any other form of housing
  • Health & Wellbeing: Widespread reports that living in a housing co-operative provides a greater sense of physical, emotional, mental health and well-being
  • Resident Satisfaction: Widespread reports of lower costs, high quality homes with better security and housing stability

“The existing research indicates numerous potential benefits created by cooperative housing in many countries. This gives us a solid starting point for identifying the extent and nature of the value created by Australia’s housing co-operatives, including the value generated by the people who live in co-operatives” says Louise Crabtree, Senior Researcher, from Western Sydney University.

The researchers found widespread report of stronger social networks and support, and better relationships with neighbours, with higher reported levels of social capital than any other forms of social housing. Housing co-operative residents reported a strong sense of community and of ‘home’ and ‘safety’, with Canadians feeling that their neighbourhood is improved by the presence of housing co-operatives.

Based on the evidence from housing co-operatives in Canada it is clear that “social capital” even among poor resident populations, adds value to public investments in housing.

The research found that the economic benefits of co-operative housing are clear. Canada demonstrated that the co-operative housing sector cost 14% less in capital and operating costs than any other affordable housing model. And evidence in the United Kingdom suggests lower rates of arrears, faster re-letting and lower vacancy rates. Additionally, inference from Germany suggested that living in a co-operative might lead to reduced health care needs and costs too.

Common Equity CEO, James Brown says; ‘With the extent of housing co-operatives overseas, the evidence is clear that co-operative housing should be a more significant part of the housing mix in Australia to deliver more diversity and choice in affordable housing and to enhance the broader economic, social and community benefits. Especially at a time when in Australia, with one of the most diverse populations in the world, in which many are facing a housing crisis, this research provides valuable information to support the case for change’.

The full Research Report for Stage One will be released in mid-late August 2018. To find out more about Co-operative housing;

A second stage of the Research is expected to commence by the end of 2018 and will quantify the extent to which co-operative housing delivers value in the Australian context.

For media enquiries and to contact researchers please contact:

Hayley Peacock-Gower
Common Equity
m: + 61 435 875 609 e: w:

Welcome Catherine Tracey and Brigitte Garozzo

Catherine is our new Head of Learning and Development in CHIA NSW’s Centre for Training in Social Housing.

Catherine Tracey has worked as a senior executive and senior manager in vocational education in both the public and private sectors. As the recently appointed Head of Learning and Development at CHIA NSW, Catherine’s passion and experience in vocational education, her desire to foster learning practices which engages the student and lead learning innovation will complement the work of the Centre for Training in Social Housing.

Catherine’s work in education is supported by her extensive experience within the social housing sector with over twenty years’ experience in the delivery of social housing in not for profit, state government and affordable housing. The challenges facing the sector and expected growth in innovative housing practices will be supported with appropriate, engaging and innovative educational programs.

Brigitte is our new Project Coordinator

Brigitte is an organiser and activist who has worked for various political organisations including as an Office Manager for Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and an organiser for the National Tertiary Education Union. She is passionate about a variety of social justice issues including; worker’s rights, women’s and LGBTIQ rights, Palestinian justice, and universal housing for all. She is also a fully qualified florist and in her spare time loves to cook, garden, attend protests, and play with her ginger cat ‘Melon’. She is a member of the ASU.

Farewell and thank you from Lyndall Katz

It is with a mix of both excitement and sadness that I have resigned from CHIA NSW (the Federation). I am moving on to pursue other passions more fully and to be with family and friends.

I have been working at the Federation for 19 years, and was involved since its beginnings. I have been with CHIA NSW for one month – since its beginning! I was at North Coast Community Housing for 13 years. That’s 32 years – more than half my life (just) with you! And that’s not including the time I was working in women’s refuges at the start of my working life.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to know you and to work with you over the years. It’s a marvelous thing to be connected with other humans, righting wrongs to make the world a better place. That is what we attempt to do in our work together.

From an eager 19 year old feminist being excited to volunteer at the first women’s refuge in the 1970s; to moving to the north coast and randomly getting a job with North Coast Community Housing Co in 1987; to moving back to Sydney to work at the Federation in 2000, I have seen many changes.

We started with passion, activism, caring and “chutzpah.” Now we have a vibrant, growing, professional, well-respected community housing sector and that makes me proud. That’s not to say we haven’t had big losses, and faced big challenges, but as a sector we have hung in there, and continued to move forward. Our continued determination to keep the community focus in the work is one of the things that has kept me here in the face of such great change. I’m pleased to have been part of all that, and done my part towards all that.

Through the Federation I moved from providing service, to training and resourcing others to provide service. I liked that move – being part of the professionalisation of the sector from the start. Thanks for that chance. At NCCHC I was a student in the first ever-training program – HATPIN (Housing Associations Training Program In NSW). The Federation provided that training. All I remember is being at a resort once a month in Coffs Harbour with my colleagues from all over northern NSW sitting in the spa. I have a certificate to prove it! Ah times have changed!
I have loved working at the Federation training and resourcing the sector. It gives me so much pleasure to be with you in that environment. I got to know some of you well over many years and many roles, some from the start of your careers. That’s exciting. And I am pleased to have added my knowledge, skill and humour to that work.

The Federation has been a brilliant workplace for me. I won’t mention all the names – there are too many – but I do want to thank Jen Crowe for seconding me to the then Good Practice Unit in 1999, which brought about the change in focus of my career. There have been many changes in staff and structure since that time, but one constant is, and has been, a fabulous workplace – respectful, connected and, above all, hilarious.

I have had wonderful managers with different perspectives; been inspired by exciting and vibrant trainers; supported by excellent and patient administrative teams; partnered with policy and business development teams to resource the sector in good practice. I have made some good friends. And the “couch” sessions are always fun.

Thank you to all who have worked with me, for giving me a home in my workplace, in this important industry, and for caring with me about the work we do. Without all this I could not have stayed for so long. And it has been so long! So long!

With appreciation,

Senior Training and Project Officer, Centre for Training in Social Housing

In the media –

Conference media

Recruitment for two new Aboriginal positions

Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist – Community Housing

This is an identified position and applicants must provide Confirmation of Aboriginality

Position type: Two-year contract full time (36.75 hrs per week)

Salary range $ Negotiable depending on experience

CHIA NSW is the peak industry body for community housing in NSW.  CHIA NSW is supporting the development of an Aboriginal peak for the Aboriginal community housing sector and now has around 60 Aboriginal member organisations.  We are looking for a dedicated and skilled Aboriginal Partnership Specialist to help us extend our work with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations.

The Aboriginal Partnerships Specialist will focus on building genuine partnerships between the Community Housing sector and the Aboriginal Community Housing sector and other key stakeholders, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.  This work is essential to support improved outcomes for Aboriginal tenants living in mainstream community housing.  Community Housing Providers (CHPs) are committed to providing better services for Aboriginal tenants and to building on their commitment to Aboriginal cultural competency and safety in their workplaces and service delivery.  This position will provide practical support and build partnerships to facilitate this process, working closely with the Aboriginal Coordinator ACHIA, and Aboriginal Specialist.

Position Description
Full advertisement

How to apply

If you would like to be considered for this position, please submit your resume together with your responses to the above criteria to:

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st July 2018

For further information contact Deborah Georgiou PH: 02 9690 2447 (x 204).


Aboriginal Co-ordinator – ACHIA (Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association NSW)

This is an identified position and applicants must provide Confirmation of Aboriginality

Position type: Two-year contract full time (36.75 hrs per week)

Salary range $ Negotiable depending on experience

ACHIA is the new peak industry body for Aboriginal community housing providers in NSW.

The ACHIA co-ordinator will be responsible for providing support to the ACHIA committee and assisting them to make progress towards the organisation’s strategic aims.

This will include building ACHIA’s profile, communicating with its members and providing practical Secretariat support for the Committee.  It will also include support to develop ACHIA as an organisation – for example by consulting members to develop a strategic plan and to investigate funding opportunities.  The Co-ordinator will also develop policy positions with the Committee and contribute to submissions on behalf of ACHIA, working closely with the Aboriginal Specialist and Aboriginal Partnership specialist.

Position Description

How to apply

If you would like to be considered for this position, please submit your resume together with your responses to the above criteria to:

Closing date for applications is Tuesday 31st July 2018

For further information contact Deborah Georgiou PH: 02 9690 2447 (x 204).




MEDIA RELEASE: Housing, finance, community leaders highlight solutions

June 29, 2018

Housing, finance, community leaders highlight solutions

Sydney’s Everybody’s Home Affordable Housing Conference highlighted the unanimous agreement from housing, financial, and community leaders that Australia faces growing homelessness, social inequality and costs to the economy unless urgent action is taken to deliver investment in more social and affordable housing.

The two-day conference attracted speakers and delegates from Europe, New Zealand, the US and around Australia.

Speakers including Saul Eslake, Industry Super Chief Economist Stephen Anthony, Landcom CEO John Brogden, CHIA Australia and leading academics joined local councils, and organisations such as the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Domestic Violence NSW, and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council to discuss solutions.

CHIA NSW CEO Wendy Hayhurst said the conference showed there’s agreement from across the spectrum that Australia must change tack on the way we are addressing housing affordability now to avoid catastrophic consequences in coming years.

“What is interesting is the diversity of people saying the same thing – we need to do something now, we already have the solutions, we can learn from the rest of the world, we just need the political will to see housing as critical economic infrastructure,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“There was furious agreement that we need more social housing on the ground for those who desperately need it, and to start thinking smarter about how we encourage large scale institutional investment in below market affordable rental housing.

“The Senate has just passed legislation to create the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NIFIC).

“The next step is to make it work through mechanisms such as the affordable housing tax credit system proposed by Stephen Anthony to close the financing gap and unlock institutional investment in affordable rental housing projects.

“The US housing credit system has delivered 3 million homes benefitting 7 million households since 1986. It’s not the only answer, but it’s certainly a very good one.”

Homelessness NSW CEO Katherine McKernan said it was encouraging to see the level of commitment to solving housing issues across the board.

“A healthy housing system is vital for a healthy economy and creating an Australia that cares for everybody in its community no matter where they live, or how much they earn,” Ms McKernan said.

“People who are homelessness are at the pointy end of a housing system that is broken.

“The solutions are there to fix it, but we need everyone to work together to make that happen so that everybody has a home.”

Download pdf of Media Release here.

Media contact: Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

MEDIA RELEASE: NSW needs an extra 12,500 social and affordable homes a year

One in three new social and affordable rental homes Australian needs will need to be in NSW, a new study released ahead of today’s Everybody’s Home Affordable Housing Conference shows.

The analysis predicts NSW will need an additional 12,500 new social and affordable rental homes a year until 2026 to meet the current backlog and keep pace with the state’s expected population growth.

It includes 5,000 social housing homes a year until 2026 for low-income households and 7,500 affordable (below market) rental homes for people in rental stress

CHIA NSW CEO, Wendy Hayhurst said this amount of additional social housing would return the proportion of social housing to 6% of all NSW housing – the same levels as 20 years ago.

The affordable rental numbers are based on providing enough homes for lower income households not eligible for social housing but paying more than 30% of their income on rent – which would result in 2.5 % of housing properties being affordable rental housing.

“To put that into perspective, England expects 40% of its new housing will be affordable housing and New York is working towards 30% of all new housing being affordable housing by 2026,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“Of course this doesn’t take into account the housing needs of many key workers who earn a moderate/ decent wage so aren’t eligible for affordable housing but still struggle to find anywhere to rent near where they work.

“It means that people are moving further away to find cheaper housing and spend too many hours travelling back and forth to work, which will not boost the state’s economic productivity.”

In NSW, 240,000 renters – or 8.5% of households are classified as under rental stress.

More than 55,000 households are waiting are waiting for social housing, the state’s homelessness rate has grown three times faster than the national average.

Homelessness NSW CEO, Katherine McKernan said a chronic lack of housing is the biggest cause of homelessness.

“Homelessness in NSW increased by 37% between 2011 and 2016, this was driven by scarcity of social housing and a lack of affordable rentals,” Ms McKernan said.

“The additional funding of $61 million provided in the NSW Budget for homelessness is welcome, however, it isn’t focused in the right area – we need significant investment in social housing and housing first to really fix homelessness in NSW”

The CHIA NSW projections are at

Download Media Release as pdf

Media contact: Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

Housing Matters – June 2018

CEO Introduction

June has been a busy month for us; the NSW Federation of Housing Associations moved office, launched its new website and started trading under a new name – CHIA NSW. At the same time we have been finalising arrangements for the NSW 2018 Affordable Housing Conference ‘Everybody’s Home’.  With the support of our sponsors – large and small – we have been able to assemble a great program with excellent speakers. We’ve had a few last minute additions and adjustments. A particular thanks to the Hon Paul Green MLC for joining the final panel session with the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, Tania Mihailuk MP and Jenny Leong MP.

One of our international speakers known to many of you, Craig Sanderson, CEO at Link Group in Scotland, has had to pull out after suffering a heart attack last week. Thankfully, the good news is that he’s recovering well and we look forward to seeing him out here another time. Craig’s place is being taken by Professor Kenneth Gibb, director of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence and based at the University of Glasgow . Ken is preparing a video for us about ‘The challenges for a National Housing Strategy – the Scottish Experience’.

Ken’s session also features contributions from Scott Figenshow (NZ), Rosanna Mcgregor (Canada) and Hal Pawson. Brett Wake (National Manager Operations, CHL) will be facilitating a lively debate -with we hope plenty of audience participation -about what we all need to do to get Australia the national housing strategy it so badly needs.

CHIA NSW is pleased to see the National Housing and Finance Investment Corporation (NHFIC) appoint its first chair, Brendan Crotty. We’ve long advocated for a bond aggregator  with Piers Williamson CEO at The Housing Finance Corporation our key note conference speaker back in 2016. Like the Australian Treasury led Affordable Housing Working Group we believe that the bond aggregator on its own isn’t sufficient to make much difference to the social and affordable housing numbers. Governments at both the Federal and State levels need to invest – through any combination of land, capital grant and tax incentive. Until they do the numbers of homeless people, households living in rental stress or those unable to leave substandard or overcrowded accommodation will continue to rise.

The NSW Government brought down its 2018 Budget on 19 June. The budget contained some additional resources for housing – circa $15m per annum over four years to assist responses to homelessness and a total of circa $33M over the same period for Aboriginal housing. Existing programs Communities Plus and the Social and Affordable Housing Fund are welcome but add only a small proportion of the new additional social and affordable homes needed across NSW. We can also anticipate more affordable housing via development contributions in coming years. But a lot more is going to be needed if the cost of living for many in the State is to be really addressed.  

ACHIA – NSW Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association

The ACHIA Interim Committee have much to celebrate this month. After their considerable hard work over the last 12 months, June has brought two pieces of excellent news. The Aboriginal Housing Office and NSW Depart of Family and Community Services have demonstrated their ongoing support by providing grant funding for another two years. We would like to acknowledge the many Government staff who have worked with to help establish ACHIA and give a special mention to Sally Kubiak and Nick Sabel at the AHO. The grant allows us to appoint additional staff to help co-ordinate ACHIA’s work and ensure the Aboriginal Community Housing Providers are well represented.

At the same time as the financial support came through the CHIA NSW Board approved a key foundational document – the Charter which describes how ACHIA will work and be governed.

A draft has been out for feedback and consultation with the sector and the final version is ACHIA Charter.

The ACHIA Committee believes that it is too early to aim for full independence and to set ACHIA up as separate legal entity. So at this early stage in ACHIA’s development CHIA NSW has offered to continue to provide the auspices for the establishment of ACHIA.   The CHIA NSW Board wishes to make it clear that the CHIA NSW does not have any interest of its own in retaining this role in the long-term and believes fully in self-determination.  CHIA NSW will support moves to further promote the independence of ACHIA (for example, by establishing ACHIA as a separate legal entity) whenever this is desired by ACHIA.

ACHIA’s Purpose

The purpose of ACHIA is to be the industry body for Aboriginal Community Housing Providers in NSW and in doing so:

  • promote the human rights of all Aboriginal people in NSW to decent, affordable and secure housing;
  • promote the right of all Aboriginal people to self-determination, including the right to choose a culturally appropriate social landlord;
  • develop and support public policy which promotes a more just housing system for Aboriginal people in NSW;
  • in partnership with counterpart organisations across Australia, develop and promote policy at a national level for housing justice and self-determination for Aboriginal people;
  • support the development of best practice in the provision of housing for Aboriginal people by encouraging networking and collaboration between Aboriginal Community Housing Providers; and
  • support the provision of culturally appropriate housing by mainstream community housing providers.

ACHIA will formally launch its Charter at the Aboriginal Caucus Day on 26th June.  We are planning to hold ACHIA elections before the end of 2018.

NSW Homelessness Strategy

In last month’s issue we highlighted the Australian Homelessness Monitor 2018 funded by Launch Housing and researched and written by UNSW’s City Futures  and Social Policy Research Centre, and University of Queensland’s  Institute for Social Science Research. It showed not just Sydney but also NSW experiencing increasingly high rates of homelessness. In five years homelessness in Sydney had jumped 48% in Sydney and 37% in NSW; far greater than elsewhere in Australia.

So the publication of the NSW Homelessness Strategy on June 10 setting out the Government’s five year plan to tackle homelessness is very welcome. Its focus is on preventing people slipping into homelessness, intervening early and providing better support services.

It does not shy away from the numbers and paints a picture of what lies behind those headline figures. In 2016/17, 36,000 young people, aged 24 or younger used specialist homelessness services – an increase of 37% from 2013/14. The report goes on to say ‘90% of young people experiencing homelessness have witnessed violence in their home, 60 per cent have been in OOHC, and 50 per cent have a reported mental health issue’.’’ Talking about domestic and family violence the report notes ‘Despite only making up 3.3 per cent of the national population, one quarter of people in Australia accessing SHS due to DFV identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.’ Older people make up an increasing proportion of homeless people. ‘More than 15 per cent of people experiencing homelessness are over the age of 55 and this figure is increasing. Between 2013/14 and 2016/17, NSW saw 88 per cent growth in the number of women over the age of 55 years accessing homelessness services.’

On top of the existing funding, an additional $15M per annum over four years is allocated to social impact investment to prevent homelessness, to expand sustaining tenancy supports and add to the transitional accommodation numbers.

Amongst the new initiatives is one to expand the use of universal screening tools for homelessness and risk of homelessness in schools so services can intervene early. The initiative is based on the Geelong Model that demonstrated that young people referred for assistance were able to maintain school attendance and did not slip into homelessness. At the other end of the age spectrum the intention is to ‘deliver targeted social housing options for older women in four to five locations, to be evaluated for expansion. Positively this includes reference to the model developed for the Sydney Women’s Homeless Alliance.

Also to be applauded is the focus on a whole of government approach exemplified by the development of the Human Services Outcomes Framework and its application for homelessness, including ‘introducing cross-agency requirements for reporting on homelessness outcomes’. Justice, Education and Health will also be involved. As referred to in last month’s Housing Matters but worth repeating is the whole of Government cost of keeping someone homelessness rather than providing them with a home and where necessary supports. A whole of Government approach allows a whole of government approach to counting the cost. See the evidence.

In one area the strategy possibly does not go far enough by including the role social landlords can play in sustaining tenancies. For example FACS has supported and continues to support projects that build on CHP’s existing practice to enhance responses to (for example) people experiencing domestic and family violence or who have complex needs. See an example here.

The strategy does not address the overwhelming shortage of social and affordable housing that is driving the rises in homelessness. It acknowledges the issue and references two existing initiatives that between them will add an extra 10,000 to 12,000 social and affordable homes over the next 10-15 years. As welcome as those these schemes are, this amount of new additional construction does not keep pace with population growth and means the existing shortfalls will increase. Tackling homelessness without more housing isn’t going to be easy.

Housing, Homelessness and Mental Health

The focus on a need for additional affordable housing supply is capturing some in the health professions. As the Homelessness Monitor mentioned above noted in its report, AIHW data collected from specialist homelessness services in 2016/17 indicates that over a quarter of people accessing services reported mental ill health as an issue associated with their homelessness.

Last year the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) held a national consultation to build a better understanding of the connection between housing, homelessness and mental health. They held workshops, carried out a survey and spoke to stakeholders about the key issues and gaps for people with lived experience of mental illness when they attempt to secure housing. The reports from the sessions and the overall paper can be accessed here.

While the service integration issue is recognised as important  as are more responsive and understanding tenancy management services, the sheer lack of secure affordable housing is the overwhelming gap preventing both recovery and contributing to worsening conditions. Traditionally the focus in the mental health profession has been on the clinical and therapeutic responses – and it will remain but instances of individuals being discharged from programs and / or institutions into insecure housing and even homelessness is shifting their focus.

The Commission has appointed AHURI to conduct more in-depth research to inform its policy advice to government. The research is composed of a literature review and policy analysis, investigative panels and workshops. CHIA NSW is one of the ‘housing’ panel members along with CHIA, National Shelter, Housing Choices and the National Affordable Housing Consortium. The other participants were mental health professionals from across the country.

Amongst the lively debate was the suggestion that perhaps in some cases the best health intervention might be housing. Not too farfetched as this example  from NY state indicates. The State calculated that ‘New York Medicaid payments for nursing-facility stays are $217 per day, as compared with costs of $50 to $70 per day for supportive housing. Furthermore, preventing even a few inpatient hospitalizations, at $2,219 per day, could pay for many days of supportive housing. Hence a pilot to examine the outcomes. It will be interesting to see if the NMHC work helps promote similar trials here.

AHURI conference on Affordable Housing Supply Solutions

On 29 May, AHURI hosted Ready for Growth a national conference focusing on Affordable Housing Supply Solutions.

The conference was an opportunity to hear from the major parties on their support for affordable housing. The Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Minister to the Federal Treasurer spoke about the new National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation and the negotiations with States and Territories over the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement with its requirement that they produce credible housing strategies.

Senator Hon Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness highlighted data which shows the extent of affordability challenges for many Australians and teased some of the solutions Labor is considering including in its manifesto for the forthcoming Federal election.

The conference also saw the launch of new AHURI research on affordable housing. The inquiry into increasing affordable housing supply: Evidence-based principles and strategies for Australian policy and practice includes three strands of research:

  1. Supporting affordable housing supply: inclusionary planning in new and renewing communities
  2. Government led innovations in affordable housing delivery
  3. Paying for affordable housing in different market contexts

Conference sessions linked to these strands of the research:

Professor Nicole Gurran, University of Sydney, spoke about the research team’s analysis of the contributions to affordable housing made by different planning systems. The research suggests that while the planning system can play a role, it is most effective when working to support other initiatives.

Professor Steven Rowley, Curtin University, spoke about government led innovations and facilitated a panel discussion. This session highlighted the need for government leadership and meaningful long term commitments to delivering affordable housing outcomes.

Professor Bill Randolph, University of NSW gave a presentation on paying for affordable housing, showing his team’s model on the impacts of different market contexts. This session highlighted something that Senator Cameron had highlighted in his opening address – the need for government to support affordable housing delivery by addressing the yield gap.

SDA Pricing and Payments Framework Review

The Department of Social Security (DSS) has commissioned KPMG to carry out a review of the SDA Pricing and Payments Framework. The review was scheduled to take place three years into the operation of the Framework which commenced in 2015 and covers the period to June 2021.

The SDA Pricing and Payments Framework provides guidance to people managing or owning existing disability accommodation, and to investors looking to develop new SDA accommodation. This guidance includes areas such as benchmark pricing, dwelling price calculations, participant eligibility, dwelling eligibility and registration, and quality and safeguards.

A national group of community housing peaks has agreed to work together to provide input to the review and has engaged Joseph Connellan to draft the joint response. Joseph has consulted with a couple of providers in most jurisdictions, including NSW, as the basis for preparing a draft submission which was then sent to all CHIA NSW members for comment. NSW was also represented at the roundtable held in Sydney for SDA providers by the CEO of BlueCHP, Charles Northcote.

One change CHIA NSW members want to see is the introduction of an SDA pre-approval process so that new developments an be let ‘off plan’.  This would ensure that not for profit providers on tight margins do not lose much needed income.

Providers also raised concerns about the lack of demand data currently available to guide investment decisions, and that the introduction of negotiated SDA prices delivered a level of uncertainty that could drive away investors.

The review is scheduled to be completed by August 2018 and will be considered by the COAG Disability Reform Council at its meeting in September 2018.

Lessons we can learn from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Many in the community housing industry will have been following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. No one can forget the horrific scenes just over a year ago on 14 June 2017 when a fire in one flat spread rapidly through the whole building leaving 72 people dead. While the immediate focus was on the cladding used in the tower’s renovation, other issues around the management of the building, fire prevention and safety and regulation also emerged. The Inquiry’s terms of reference reflect these broader concerns.

Grenfell Tower is owned by the Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. At the time of the fire, management was carried out under contract by a large Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) Kensington and Chelsea TMO. The TMO had been operating for many years, managed all the Council’s social housing and reported to a Board.

While there are differences between the UK and Australia, the principles and standards around asset and tenancy management services, design and construction, strong governance and external regulation should be the same. Its timely then to consider the lessons when the community housing industry looks to expand and the National Regulatory System for Community Housing is about to be reviewed.

With permission from Housing Quality Network a not for profit organisation based in the UK Housing Matters is reprinting a recent blog from their CEO Alistair McIntosh who spent time in NSW working with CHIA NSW on scenario planning with CHP boards. The article pulls no punches about what in the UK needs to change and should get us thinking here too.

Grenfell Inquiry – Why expert evidence is terrifying for boards

Grenfell must change the way we do things for ever. We are starting to see the experts’ reports to the Inquiry. If they are right, we have a long road to travel on safety. This is a big deal for your board.

Let’s get one thing clear. For a lot of its history the board of the Kensington TMO was just like any other housing board. It had a very similar mix of the great and the good. And at times it had industry heavyweights round the table. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are better than them. It is for the Inquiry and the courts to say what the TMO got right and wrong. Time will tell. But we can learn a lot now from the submissions to the Inquiry.

Let’s see how sharp you are. This is a minute from a TMO board meeting.

“Grenfell Tower Refurbishment – close liaison with London Fire Brigade and Fire Risk Assessor throughout the duration of the project. At the conclusion of the work some of the operational firefighters from the local Fire Station attended an onsite briefing where the contractor demonstrated the fire safety features of the building.”

Yep that’s what they were told. What questions would you have asked? Would you have asked any? Everything looks fine doesn’t it? It wasn’t.

What does a real expert make of it? Here’s what Professor Torero says in his evidence. The language is hard going. But the verdict is lacerating for all of us. So, read it.

“The regulatory framework relies very heavily on competent professionals to provide the necessary interpretation that will bridge the gaps and resolve the ambiguities left by functional requirements, guidelines and standardized tests. Nevertheless, a competent engineer should be capable of interpreting the requirement to ‘adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls…having regard to the height, use and position of the building’ within the context of the needs of the fire safety strategy in the case of a specific tall building. In the case of the fire safety strategy of Grenfell Tower, ‘adequately resist’ should have been interpreted as being ‘no’ external fire spread.

“There is currently no definition of what is the competency required from these professionals, or skill verification approaches that should be used, so as to guarantee that those involved in the design … implementation, acceptance and maintenance of these systems can deliver societally acceptable … levels of safety. There is a need to shift from a culture that inappropriately trivializes ‘compliance’ to a culture that recognizes complexity in ‘compliance’ and therefore values ‘competency,’ ‘performance’ and ‘quality.’ Otherwise, the increasing complexity of building systems will drive society in unidentified paths towards irresponsible deregulation by incompetency.” [My emphasis]

If he is correct we are not good enough. And we need better advisors too. Note the use of the term engineer. That is someone who knows what they are doing and can prove it. The professor is setting the bar high and no wonder.

I was appalled by the reaction to the Hackitt report. She suggested that we need to take a systematic approach to safety. What did a lot of the sector say? No, we want to go back to ticking boxes. Get someone to tell us that such and such a component is safe, and we will use it thus washing our hands of all responsibility. Hackitt and Torero give that idea short shrift. It never was that easy and it never will be that easy. When is there ever one single solution to a problem?

Where does this leave boards? On one level it is terrifying. Mistakes can have fatal consequences. And the assurances you thought you had turn to dust. No one will want to be on a board, will they? Then things will grind to a halt.

There is a way to sort this out. It is time for the assurance industry to step up. Let us have no more tick box internal audit reports. Please stop asking consultants to churn out pointless governance reviews. I call them Feng Shui reports because they drone on about the layout of the room. Who cares? It doesn’t matter a jot. Then there are the drive by stock surveys that miss the bleedin’ obvious.

It seems to me that lots of money is wasted on phoney assurance. Stop that and spend the money instead on the sorts of experts that Torero talks about. They will really help boards to sleep at night.

But boards will need to work harder and smarter. There is no way round that. I was flabbergasted when I read that new councillors in a borough that also had fire safety issues were complaining about 600-page long planning papers. Don’t forget these are key to safety, you must start from the right point. Their answer was to ask for speed reading courses. It might be better to go for training by experts. Then you can ask for sharper reports that get to the nub of the matter a lot quicker.

As you read what the experts have to say about Grenfell you quickly realise that regulation can’t stay as it is. We are going to have to bring back inspection or something like it. The IDAs these days look mainly at the money. Yes, that is a big deal. But it is not as important as safety. You’ve got to say that our current system of regulation is not fit for purpose to put it mildly. It was set up with the wrong priorities. The RSH (or someone) will be asked to get a grip on safety by the government. That is certain. You can expect to be inspected on how you keep tenants safe. And you must show that you listen to their concerns and act on them. But this time there will be no one size fits all official guidance (like the old Audit Commission KLOEs) or tick boxes to help you. Hackitt and Torero are right to put an end to spoon feeding. That’s when good people switch off and things go badly wrong.

By Alistair McIntosh, HQN Chief Executive

Farewell to Kevin Saide, Training Manager CTS

As many of you may know by now I am leaving the position of Training Manager on the 29th June 2018 to move to Victoria whilst continuing to do some training delivery online.

I started at The Federation as a Trainer nearly 10 years ago having come from 30 years working in and later managing housing / homelessness services in Queensland.

Having heard Sydney was in trouble I came down here to see what I could do (despite all my cousins pleading for me to stay in Queensland) and landed a job at Sterling College as an Assessor. Well, my good intentions of saving Sydney didn’t work as Sterling College was closed within 3 months of my arriving due to many compliance issues.

A couple of temporary jobs later I landed in the office of Laurel Draffen at The Federation who obviously saw some good in this smartass Queenslander (aren’t we all) and offered me a position as Trainer and Assessor (temporary until proven) which I am pleased to say I did some 6 months later.

I must say having been a sole Manager of organisations with whom the buck stopped I wondered how I might go working for two Managers, Laurel and Adam the CEO. Well two CEOs later I am still here and have thoroughly enjoyed working for Adam, Lucy and Wendy. Former and current staff are incredibly committed to the Federation (now of course CHIA NSW) and I will miss the daily contact.

I have been more than impressed and humbled by the number of dedicated, compassionate and devoted people I have met who work in the housing and homelessness sectors from CEOs to administrative staff who are often the frontline people for all organisations.

So now to Victoria a State also in trouble to see if I can be of some service.

City West Housing welcome new Head of Development

City West have announced that Lisa Sorrentino is joining their team as Head of Development this week to help make affordable housing for people on very low to moderate incomes a reality in Sydney.  Prior to joining City West Housing Lisa worked on urban renewal projects at Urban Growth NSW and also previously worked at Stockland in apartment delivery and business development.

Lisa is an experienced residential development executive with over 15 years of end to end development experience in urban renewal, mixed use, retirement living, and build to rent sectors within Australia and the United States.

As Head of Development Lisa will be responsible for all aspects of project development from acquisitions to handover to the tenancy team.

Lisa will help to ensure a strong pipeline of affordable housing developments will continue whilst leading the ongoing development of our five upcoming projects currently under construction or in planning.

Lisa said, “I am enthusiastic to join the team at City West Housing and looking forward to working closely with a range of stakeholders in the future to ensure we continue to contribute to the increase of the Affordable Housing supply in Sydney.”

Leonie King, CEO of City West Housing said “We are excited to have a developer of Lisa’s calibre joining our team. Like City West Housing, she is passionate about providing housing which is affordable for people on lower incomes. With ambitious plans for future developments underway in Sydney we look forward to working together to make living and working locally a reality for more people.”

Media mentions

Over the past month CHIA NSW and CEO Wendy Hayhurst have been mentioned in the following news articles:

To kick off build-to-rent housing, taxes may have to be less progressive (30/05/2018)

NSW budget spends on transport, families (20/06/2018)

CHIA Exchange (formerly Fed Ex)Save the Date: 12 & 13 September 2018

Please save the date for the next CHIA Exchange.  We will hold the next FedEx over 2 days on the 12 and 13 September 2018 at a new, more convenient venue – the Mercure Grand Central.  The new venue is a few minutes’ walk from Central Station in Sydney.  More information surrounding the event will be sent in the coming weeks.

MEDIA RELEASE: Cost of Living Budget leaves out housing costs for renters

Additional funding to support Aboriginal housing and people who are homeless is good news but the NSW Budget does not include new investment in more social and affordable housing for NSW renters in housing stress, the state’s peak not-for-profit housing body said today.

The Budget announced today includes an additional $61million over 4 years for homelessness programs, and $33.1 million over 4 years to support Aboriginal housing.

However, CHIA NSW CEO, Wendy Hayhurst, said the NSW Government had missed the opportunity to reinvest the $18.25 billion it has reaped in stamp duty windfalls since 2011 in providing the 12,500 social and affordable homes NSW will need each year to keep up
population growth.

“Homelessness support services aren’t effective if people don’t also have secure permanent homes to go to,” Ms Hayhurst said.
“And extra funding for childcare, education and health will only go so far if children don’t have a safe, secure home to go to at the end of the day, or people leaving hospital can’t recover safely at home.

“This Budget had a chance to future-proof our housing system by encouraging investment in the social and affordable housing we’ll need in the future as Sydney’s population continues to grow.”

Ms Hayhurst recognised the NSW Government could not solve the problem on its own – after the Federal Government’s Budget failed to deliver funding to kick start greater investment in social and affordable housing from bodies such as superannuation funds.

“State Government housing programs such as the Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF), Communities Plus, and Future Directions are good programs but will not deliver the scale of
new housing needed,” she said.

“We need all levels of government to work together on solutions –and a strategy that includes a suite of measures, from planning reforms, to access to government land, and direct subsidies to close the funding gap for community housing providers.”

Key facts

  • NSW needs 12,500 social and affordable homes a year for people on low and middle incomes.
  • Homelessness has increased 48% in Sydney and 37% in NSW over five years (Census).
  • The number of social housing properties has not kept up with population growth – over the last 20 years there has been a 4% increase in properties against a 30% increase in
    households in need (AHURI).
  • 60,000 people are on waiting lists for social housing in NSW.
  • In April, there was not a single property affordable for a young family on a minimum wage to rent within 20km of Sydney’s CBD – and the situation as almost as bad in most
    regional centres (Anglicare 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot).
  • In Sydney average house prices are still roughly 12 times average incomes.

Media contact: Jenny Stokes, 0478 504 280

*NB The NSW Federation of Housing Associations is now CHIA NSW

New look NSW community housing peak

The NSW Federation of Housing Association has a new look, new offices and new name.

The Federation is now the Community Housing Industry NSW (CHIA NSW), with new address, new branding and a new website to reflect the next chapter for the community housing in NSW.

CEO, Wendy Hayhurst said the change reflected growth and awareness of the importance of the sector not just in NSW, but nationally as well.

NSW community housing providers will have delivered a $1 billion in new social and affordable housing by 2020.

“Between 2012 and 2020, 18 of our largest community housing providers will have delivered $1 billion in new projects in 34 local government, with capacity to deliver much more,” Ms Hayhurst said.

“It’s a reflection of the growth and maturity the sector as a whole, and commitment of community providers here in NSW to providing social and affordable homes for people who need them.

“As CHIA NSW we’ll continue to work with members, councils and the NSW Government to secure planning reforms and funding mechanisms that will provide more not-for-profit housing here in NSW.

“We’ll also work alongside the national peak CHIA, and our colleagues in other states to push for reforms and housing strategies needed at a national level as well.”

CHIA NSW will continue to deliver training through its registered training arm, the Centre for Training in Social Housing, which also has a new look but will provide the same support and training services.

New contact details for CHIA NSW are:

Address: 619 Elizabeth Street, Redfern
Phone: 9690 2447
Twitter: @CHIA_NSW

Staff email addresses will remain the same

Media contact: Jenny Stokes, 0478 504 280

TOOLKIT: Building Community Support for Community Housing

The Federation is delighted to share its toolkit to support organisations to develop affordable housing for communities, supported by communities.
The web-based toolkit includes video case studies of developments in Eveleigh, Summer Hill, Wollstonecraft and Worrigee highlighting the value of affordable housing for communities.
The toolkit has been developed by Dr Judy Stubbs in conjunction with FACS and Landcom.

Housing Matters – May 18

CEO’s Report

Over the last few days I have been digesting the Australian Homelessness Monitor 2018 funded by Launch Housing and researched and written by UNSW’s City Futures and Social Policy Research Centre, and University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research. Its publication was hard to miss, as it was splashed across the media up, down and around the country. The headlines told a heartbreaking story in numbers – a 14% jump in nationwide homelessness in just five years, and a massive 48% in Sydney. Rough sleeping also rocketed with 8,200 people recorded on census night – a 20% increase nationwide. Severe overcrowding (where households are at least four bedrooms short of what they need) perhaps inevitably given that sharing is probably the only feasible option for some people to keep a roof over their head has also risen dramatically, by 23% nationwide.

We are all time poor and the report is long but it cries out to be read attentively by policy makers and politicians across the country. It is well evidenced, measured and surprisingly positive. Solutions that work exist including the Housing First, Street to Home supportive housing models that were first introduced in Australia to tackle chronic rough sleeping in the wake of the 2008 Australia Government White Paper The Road Home. There are also plenty of examples where policy changes are likely to exacerbate homelessness. Changes to benefit entitlements and increases in sanctioning have reduced incomes and inevitably what households have to pay housing costs.

And then there are the policies and initiatives such as the NSW Social and Affordable Housing Fund we need more of. Investment in more social and affordable housing is after all the only real game changer. The report concisely explains how the rental market has changed. While rents may not have jumped as high as house prices, the competition for cheaper homes means that households traditionally able to access the private rental market are pushed out by higher income households who can’t afford the deposit on a house. It will cost but as one of the Monitor’s authors Cameron Parsell has demonstrated previously it cost Governments circa $13,000 p.a. more to keep someone homeless than provide them with a home and support services.

The report makes clear in stark terms the far greater risk there is of Aboriginal people experiencing homelessness – ten times more likely than non-Aboriginal Australians. The Closing the Gap refresh (see article below) must include a target to reduce Aboriginal homelessness.

There will be an excellent opportunity to dive into the Monitor detail at the EveryBody’s Home Affordable Housing Conference on 27-28 June 2018. Prof. Hal Pawson will be presenting and discussing the content with Katherine McKernan CEO at Homelessness NSW and Jeff Fiedler from the Housing Aged Action Group. We hope that the Monitor which will be repeated on a regular basis does stimulate Governments to take an alternative approach to ‘reactive incrementalism’ and make the ‘significant investment in longer term housing solutions’ so badly needed.

As community housing providers we also recognise that the industry has a role to play in all this. At a time when finding a home is so difficult landlords need to adopt practice that prevents wherever possible negative exits from a tenancy. Over the last year and going forward the Federation, with support from the NSW Government, Family and Community Services and the enthusiastic participation of providers, are producing and implementing a suite of practical tools to help front line staff respond to tenants in a way results in a sustained tenancy rather than eviction or abandonment. The first cab off the rank was the DFV toolkit, and not a moment too soon given that domestic and family violence is the single most commonly cited ‘main’ reason for homelessness. On 25 May we launched the creating sustainable tenancies toolkit for tenants with complex needs produced by Sue Cripps, a project in which we collaborated with Queensland Shelter. In the coming months there will be guidance on financial inclusion, ASB practice and responding to DFV perpetrators. These will be living documents with implementation supported by training options.

Register now for the pre-conference Caucuses!

Registrations are now open for the Caucuses which will complement the Affordable Housing Conference. There are strictly limited places are available for the Caucuses, which will be held on the afternoon of the 26 June. The three Caucus sessions are:

Emerging Leaders Caucus: the Emerging Leaders Caucus is for young housing and homelessness professionals who seek to play a leading role in the future of the social and affordable housing sector. The Caucus will provide an opportunity to step away from everyday business and join your peers to debate, discuss and learn about key skills that are essential to lead a successful organisation with a social purpose. The caucus will focus on the skills you need to shine as a leader as well as equipping you with the tools to excel at the art of verbal communication.
You will hear from experts in the field such as Rebecca Oelkers, Alex Notay and Jenny Stokes, and also get the opportunity to contribute your own ideas

Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda: Implications for Housing in Australia: the United Nations has achieved three groundbreaking agreements in recent years which, if implemented, will move the world to greater environmental sustainability and greater social justice. The 2014 Paris Agreement, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2016 New Urban Agenda (NUA) agreements have major implications for urban life and particularly how access to housing contributes to quality of life, social justice and sustainability.

The supply of affordable housing is the life blood of any city or human settlement and social and affordable housing providers can play a key role in determining the future of urban living. With presentations from Greg Budworth, Vice Chair UN Habitat, General Assembly of Partners and Sonja Duncan, Director, SD Environmental Management and Consultant to NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage Sustainability Advantage Program, this Caucus is an unmissable opportunity for those wishing to progress the right to adequate housing in Australia leveraging the community housing sector.

Aboriginal Caucus: the Aboriginal Caucus is an essential opportunity for people working in the Aboriginal community housing sector, in particular CEOs and managers working in the sector. International speaker Rosanna McGregor Cariboo, Friendship Society, British Columbia, Canada will speak about the Canadian Indigenous Housing sector, drawing comparisons to the Australian experience and providing practice advice on how those in the sector can maximise their impact and be agents for change. The Caucus will feature a workshop session with the Aboriginal Housing Office, outlining the sector’s view on housing and homelessness priorities and making detailed recommendations to feed in to Aboriginal Housing Organisation’s strategy.

The Caucus will also serve as the platform to launch the next phase of the sector’s industry body – the Aboriginal Community Housing Industry Association or ACHIA for short – providing an overview of activities to date, accountability within the sector and the plans and priorities for ACHIA moving forward. Finally, Charles Northcote will provide experiences from New Zealand and Blue Community Housing Providers in making property development work for Aboriginal communities using examples and exploring the pitfalls.
Registrations are now open! Click here for more information.

2018 Affordable Housing Conference update

With less than a month to go, now is the time to register for the 2018 Affordable Housing Conference!  We are delighted to announce Wentworth Community Housing as our official App Sponsor!  Download the app to design your personalised program, review sessions and read more about our fantastic speaker line up!  To access the app, click here and search ‘Affordable Housing 2018’.

Masterclass on developing housing for communities, supported by communities

To coincide with the launch of two research projects exploring the latest evidence on affordable housing development, the Federation ran a masterclass based on the research. Dr Judy Stubbs, an internationally recognised expert in affordable housing research, policy, economics and strategy lead the masterclass on behalf of the Federation.

30 people from 15 different organisations attended the masterclass, including our members, local government and state government agencies. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive with one person saying that what they learned would be, “A huge help in my role, I have all the information I need to understand what best practice is”.

The first half of the masterclass focussed on the Building Community Support for Community Housing research.  Participants learned about community attitudes to affordable housing and how to engage with different parts of the community to gain acceptance for developments.  Participants were also given access to a web-based toolkit to support them through the development approvals process.

The second half focussed on Multi-Tenure Developments: Best Practice Approaches to Design, Development and Management. This session brought together Australian and international research about successful development projects that support diverse communities.
Given the success of the event, the Federation is considering running further masterclasses later in the year. If you are interested, please contact Tom Kehoe, Senior Project Officer (

Ground-breaking research on affordable housing development

In May, the Federation launched two ground breaking research projects designed to help our members develop affordable rental housing for communities, which is supported by communities.

  • Building Community Support for Community Housing delivers a web-based toolkit and video case studies of developments in Eveleigh, Summer Hill, Wollstonecraft and Worrigee highlighting the value of affordable housing for communities.
  • Multi-Tenure Developments: Best Practice Approaches to Design, Development and Management reports on Australian and international case studies and identifies contemporary best practice to help our members shape vibrant communities that work well for different people.

Both projects explore the most up-to-date Australian and international evidence, turning the findings into practical resources which help our members engage with their communities to design housing solutions that work for everyone.

The projects have been undertaken on the Federation’s behalf by Dr Judy Stubbs and were delivered in conjunction with the Department of Family and Community Services and Landcom.
For more information about either project, please contact Tom Kehoe, Senior Project Officer (

National Homelessness Conference 2018

We’re now less than three months away from the National Homelessness Conference. This newsletter includes a massive program update with more than 40 speakers now confirmed including our 3rd International keynote presenter.   AHURI, in partnership with Homelessness Australia will convene the National Homelessness Conference 2018—Ending Homelessness Together, in Melbourne on Mon 6 and Tue 7 August 2018 as part of Homelessness Week 2018. The release of 2016 Census reveals a 13.7 per cent increase of people experiencing homelessness over the five year period. Against the backdrop of these latest figures, and with the Australian Government developing the new National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, it is an appropriate time to revive this critical national event after a four year hiatus.

The Conference will bring together policy makers and practitioners from across Australia to learn, engage and network. We are delighted to invite you to join us at this major national event and be part of the conversation aimed at ending homelessness in Australia.

Read our comprehensive update, download our brand new program booklet and make sure you register before the end of the month to secure the special Early Bird rate.  Book before Friday 1 June to secure an Early Bird rate and save over $100 on registration. Read more here.

Federation Exchange Save the Date

Please save the date for the next Federation Exchange.  We will hold the next FedEx over 2 days on the 12 and 13 September 2018 at a new, more convenient venue – the Mercure Grand Central.  The new venue is a few minutes’ walk from Central Station in Sydney.  More information surrounding the event will be sent in the coming weeks.

Creating Sustainable Tenancies for Tenants with Complex Needs

With social housing only available to those who need it most, tenants have increasingly complex needs that community housing providers need to respond to. To support community housing providers to manage the tenancies of vulnerable people with more complex needs, the Federation has partnered with Q Shelter to develop the Creating Sustainable Tenancies for Tenants with Complex Needs Toolkit.

The Toolkit was officially launched at an event last week, with Sue Cripps (lead author of the resource), Barb McKenna (General Manager, Customers & Communities, SGCH) and Tracy Wright (CEO, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability) joining the Federation’s CEO Wendy Hayhurst for a panel discussion.   You can watch a discussion on producing the toolkit between Federation CEO Wendy Hayhurst and Q Shelter CEO Leone Crayden here.

The sector is clearly highly motivated and committed to further embedding a sustainable tenancies approach in practice and the Federation is pleased to provide the practical resources and tools needed to make this a reality for CHPs of all sizes.

You can download the toolkit and supporting resources on our website. The Federation can support providers to implement the Toolkit through workshops or training for staff. If you would like to discuss this with us please contact Deborah Georgiou on 92181 7144 (ext.204) or by email –

ACHIA Update – Refresh of the Closing the Gap Strategy

ACHIAACHIA and the Federation support the Refresh of the Closing the Gap Strategy and jointly submitted a response  to the consultation. We have argued that a refreshed strategy should recognise safe, secure and adequate housing as essential and a prerequisite for achieving improved social and economic outcomes. The Homelessness Monitor mentioned earlier provided further evidence (if it was needed) for including housing related targets. As the Monitor notes that although Aboriginal people make up only 2.8% of the population they ‘represent 22% of Australia’s homeless population.
In work done by Homelessness NSW and cited in our submission 25% of service users were reported by NSW specialist homeless services to be Aboriginal people. This report also vividly illustrates the other disadvantages homeless Aboriginal people experience with high levels of interaction with the criminal justice service and poor physical and mental health.

We have recommended that targets should be set to address the following:
•             the levels of crowding amongst Aboriginal households
•             levels of Aboriginal homelessness
•             Aboriginal home ownership rates.

The Commonwealth State and Territory governments must also demonstrate commitment to achieving progress and the National Housing and Homeless Agreement should be used to set out explicit strategies and associated actions to meet the targets.
And all organisations should make a renewed commitment to supporting Aboriginal run service models and mainstream services and housing providers should strengthen their own cultural competency, adapt their own services to meet Aboriginal people’s needs and work respectfully with Aboriginal organisations.

Penrith Council commits to action on affordable housing

On Saturday 26 May 2018the Sydney Alliance held a public forum on how to ‘create more affordable and secure housing for people on lower incomes, especially in Western Sydney’.  A good crowd was attracted by a stellar panel including politicians from the three levels of government:   Federal Senator Doug Cameron (Lab) taking a break from estimates hearings, NSW MP Penny Leong (Greens) and the Mayor of Penrith, Cr John Thain.


Above: NSW MP Penny Leong (Greens), Federal Senator Doug Cameron (Lab) taking a break from estimates hearings, and the Mayor of Penrith, Cr John Thain.

First up though was Magnus Linder, Chair of the Sydney Alliance Housing Team to set the scene and remind us that ‘The GSC’s own modelling shows that Sydney needs at least 8,000 units of affordable housing per year just to keep pace with the growth of the city and unfortunately these (the site targets in the District Plans) will not come anywhere close to delivering these numbers’. Magnus was followed by ex-Committee for Sydney CEO Dr Tim Williams taking us on a whirlwind tour of housing statistics and finishing with the observation that housing supply goes up when prices rise and falls when prices fall – unless of course the Government takes a role and invests.

We heard from a working young mother, Bec Reidy living in the grey housing market, not enough income to afford her own home but lucky to have in laws to help out.
Then came the politicians and they were in furious agreement about the need for a plan, mandatory inclusionary zoning, rental security – particularly removing ‘no grounds’ notices and tax reform that discourages over investment in housing. While we did not get a dollar commitment or target, a Housing Minister to be arguing the case for a slice of the investment pie for housing against transport was promised / supported. Not to be outdone the Penrith Mayor Cr Thain made a strong commitment to using the Council’s own resources and working with local community housing providers like Wentworth to deliver affordable housing.

The forum was held at Penrith Uniting Church, and organized by Sydney Alliance – a coalition of faith, union and community groups.

Proposed Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to Benefit Victims of Domestic and Family Violence

On 20 May the Minster for Better Regulation, Matt Kean, announced  that the Residential Tenancies Act in NSW would be amended to better protect the victims of domestic and family violence.

The Federation supported the push for these changes being made by DVNSW and the Women’s Legal Service following input from our Domestic and Family Violence Toolkit Reference Group. The amendments will mean that tenants can terminate their tenancy immediately and without penalty by providing evidence of domestic violence through a provisional, interim or final AVO, certificate of conviction, family law injunction or a statutory declaration made by a medical professional.

Whilst the Federation really welcomes this proposed change to the Act, we had supported the push for evidentiary requirements to be broadened to include statements by support agencies and to mirror the requirements used to support a transfer for DFV reasons in Housing Pathways. It will be interesting to see what the detail is about this in the Exposure Bill due out ‘in the coming months’.

The Minster also announced that there will also be protection for victims from being listed on a tenancy database by an agent or landlord where a debt or property damage arose because of a violent partner.

House Keys update

House Key: Workforce

We are pleased to announce that the sign-up period for House Key: Workforce Round Three will start in June 2018 and this will allow us to make the data available early next financial year.

Our top priority for future rounds of House Keys is to make sure that the most up to date information as possible is available. To achieve this we’ve decided to move straight onto capturing data for this financial year (2017-18) and skip financial year 2016-17. We’ve also made a number of changes to our methodology which will significantly reduce the turnaround time. Two areas where we plan to reduce the turnaround time significantly are the sign up process and the data submission window.

We wish to set up a regular annual cycle so that House Key: Workforce data is released around the end of September every year based on Workforce data from the previous financial year.

  • June 2018 – CHPs invited to sign up
  • July/August 2018 – Data submission
  • End September 2018 – Launch Round Three

We will be in touch in June to let you know how you can be part of the next stage for House Keys: Workforce.

House Key: Operations

The Federation can announce that 36 CHPs will be participating in House Key: Operations Round 4. We are currently compiling the data from the Registrar and FACS, and also the Quantifying and Benchmarking Social Housing Management Expenditure workbooks submitted by 20 CHPs.
To make the release of the data as timely as possible there will be a 3 week validation window and your data strips will be emailed to you in the next 1 -2 weeks for validation.

We are aiming to release Round 4 in July 2018 and our timetable for the work is as follows:

  • Data export – April and May 2018
  • Data validation by Federation and CHPs – June 2018
  • Platform set up and testing until July 2018

Find out more:  Watch our House Keys video to find out how to get the most out of it and read our House Keys user manual.  Or email Leoni Lynch

Social Housing Priority Outcome Indicators

The Outcomes Network has been working to develop a list of priority outcome indicators to measure the impact of community housing providers on tenant outcomes. The Centre for Social Impact provided an extensive list of possible indicators, which have been refined down based feedback from the Outcomes Network.

FACS have provided advice about the indicators that will be collected for public housing and these have been incorporated into the final list of indicators to ensure alignment. Future alignment with the Department of Social Services Data Exchange (DEX) has also been considered.

An outcomes survey, which includes the priority indicators has been circulated to the Outcomes Network. Please contact the Outcomes Network representative in your organisation for a copy of the survey. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Ellis (

Hume flagship community housing project opens in Fairfield

Hume Community Housing has successfully delivered on its commitment to develop quality affordable and social housing in NSW with the official opening of Hamilton@Fairfield this month.  The 60 unit development includes 31 social housing units and 29 affordable housing units that are being rented to essential workers so they can live near work and reside in a vibrant neighbourhood.
Assistant Minister to the Treasurer the Hon Michael Sukkar MP launched Hamilton@Fairfield which includes 60 new units as well as a new purpose built office space so Hume can continue to provide services to its local customers.

Mr Sukkar said the Hamilton@Fairfield development was an excellent example of what can be achieved when governments work with the community housing sector. “I’m pleased to officially open Hume’s new development in Fairfield, which delivers homes and opportunities that will support our communities to prosper,” Mr Sukkar said.

Hamilton@Fairfield contains a mix of studio, one and two bedroom apartments and well-designed outdoor spaces. The rooftop BBQ areas with herb gardens have expansive views of Fairfield and provide practical outdoor living and excellent places to meet up and develop a sense of community.
Hume customers are extremely happy to be able to move into the centrally located and aesthetically appealing complex. Elina Khoshaba is one customer who has moved in the building with her daughter and husband. “We are so thankful for our new place. Everyone was so helpful with our move and made everything easy,” she said.

hamiltonLeft:  Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, the Hon Michael Sukkar MP opens the project with Hume CEO Nicola Lemon and Chairman Robert Vine





Grand Opening of Harts Landing

Evolve Housing officially opened its new multi tenure development in Thornton Estate Penrith on a perfect sunny Tuesday 29 May. A short stroll from Penrith rail station, Harts Landing is a partnership between Evolve Housing and PAYCE that has resulted in 268 apartments, with 134 of these being much needed social and affordable housing dwellings and 134 private market housing dwellings.

Built ahead of schedule the development was a true collaborative effort. Funding came via NRAS incentives from the Commonwealth Government, the NSW Government put in additional grant to help fund the social element and allow the purchase of the site at a discount via Landcom, and CBA provided the private finance. Penrith Council managed a smooth streamlined DA process and the AHO came along and purchased ten units for affordable Aboriginal housing.

A lovely ceremony opened with a beautiful welcome to Darug Country and a host of speakers followed all expertly mcc’d by Evolve Board member David Borger. In the line up were Evolve’s CEO Andrea Galloway, Payce’s Dominic Sullivan The Hon. Pru Goward, MP, Minister for Family and Community Services, and Minister for Social Housing and the Hon. Stuart Ayres, MP, Minister for Western Sydney, Minister for WestConnex, and Minister for Sport.


A great model everyone said they wanted to see replicated throughout the Western Sydney region.  An article on the development likened securing a spot in the Harts Landing development to ‘winning the lotto’.

Ecclesia Housing merges with Amélie Housing

From 18 May, Ecclesia Housing merged with Amélie Housing.  For the time being, Ecclesia Housing will continue to operate all its current programs and obligations. Brian Murnane will be the CEO of Ecclesia Housing as well as Amélie Housing and the Board of Amélie Housing will also be the Board of Ecclesia Housing.

The merger will mean that Ecclesia Housing will become a significant part of the Amélie Housing growth and be supported by the extensive resources of the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW.  It will result in improved outcomes for our tenants and our assets will be used for the development of more community housing.

Pacific Link Housing Appoints a New CEO

Local social and affordable housing provider Pacific Link Housing (PLH) has appointed a new
Chief Executive Officer. It has been announced that Craig Brennan will be joining the organisation, officially taking over from interim CEO, Daphne Wayland on Monday 4 June 2018.

Mr Brennan joins PLH with a wealth of experience in the community housing sector. His previous roles have included eight years as CEO of Community Housing Canberra (CHC), a Tier One community housing provider in the ACT. Prior to CHC, Craig spent three years in development roles with Defence Housing Australia and four years with Business ACT, an agency of the ACT Government. He also holds an MBA and has a degree in communications.

“The Board undertook an extensive recruitment process to carefully select the best candidate for this role,” said David Bacon, Chairman of Pacific Link Housing.

“Craig’s in-depth experience in the delivery of large-scale housing developments, particularly within the community housing sector, will ensure we continue to successfully deliver our pipeline of development projects,” said Mr Bacon

Ms Wayland now returns to her role in governance and compliance, staying within the organisation to allow for continuity and a smooth transition as Mr Brennan settles into his new role.

“I am excited to be joining Pacific Link Housing to further improve the supply of affordable housing to the Central Coast and Hunter communities,” says Mr Brennan.

“Pacific Link’s mission to provide the best possible outcomes and support programs for their tenants is inspiring, and I look forward to taking an innovative approach to continuing this work to make a difference in the sector,” continued Mr Brennan.

PLH’s strong tenant focus has assisted more than 600 residents through the organisation’s self-funded tenant support programs, which provide opportunities for tenants to improve their situation and, where possible, transition back to private housing.

“We are looking forward to this next phase in the organisation’s growth and continuing to deliver on Pacific Link’s track record of high rates of tenant satisfaction for our 2,000 residents,” said Mr Bacon

For more information about Pacific Link Housing visit or phone
(02) 4324 7617.

In the Media

Over the past month the Federation and CEO Wendy Hayhurst have been mentioned in the following news article:

Rental Stress Across NSW Calls For More Community Housing (01/05/2018)
Rental stress is growing across NSW, highlighting the urgent need for government action to create more social and affordable housing for local communities from the Tweed to the Riverina.
NSW Federation of Housing Associations CEO, Wendy Hayhurst, said chronic rental stress has been shown through Anglicare’s 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot. “It’s no surprise that yet again there is not a single property affordable for a young family on a minimum wage or government support to rent within 20km of Sydney’s CBD,” Ms Hayhurst said.

Housing affordability an issue in Wagga too, says Federation (02/05/2018)
The NSW Federation of Housing Associations says growing rental stress across NSW highlights the urgent need for action from all levels of government, to create more social and affordable housing for communities like those here in the Riverina.

Four demo sites in NSW will test innovative housing models to tackle affordability (03/05/2018)
Micro lots, vertical villages, compact apartments and alternative financial models will be trialled at four demo sites across NSW in a housing affordability experiment by the state government’s land and property agency, Landcom.  NSW Federation of Housing Associations chief executive Wendy Hayhurst,

For every public housing property sold in NSW, just two are built (06/05/2018)
The NSW government has sold off half as much public housing as it has built over the last three years, new figures show, adding to concerns that its marquee social housing supply programs will have little impact on the decade-long waitlist.  Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive NSW Federation of Housing Associations, said only a significant shift in government policy, such as treating housing as essential infrastructure, would reduce the social housing waiting list.
who was consulted earlier in the year at a conference with other not-for-profit groups, has welcomed the initiative.

Experts disappointed in federal budget’s lack of focus on affordable housing (09/05/2018)
Housing providers and experts have slammed the federal government for failing to deliver a missing puzzle piece to boost housing supply for low and moderate-income earners in this week’s budget.  Though lower income earners were dubbed budget winners thanks to personal tax cuts, they would be better off if the government focused on increasing affordable housing, according to the NSW Federation of Housing Associations.

Ivanhoe redevelopment criticised for lack of affordable housing (12/05/2018)
The NSW government promises its redevelopment of a public housing estate in Sydney’s north will provide up to 1000 dwellings for social housing as well as community facilities and services.  Wendy Hayhurst, the chief executive of the NSW Federation of Housing Associations, said the concept design for Ivanhoe Estate included more social and affordable housing than the minimum required.